Margate Creative Land Trust announces new executive director

New executive director for Margate Creative Land Trust Annette Russell

The Margate Creative Land Trust has announced its new executive director.

Annette Russell, who spent the last five years working in local government, will be joining the Trust in July.

The Creative Land Trust was the first project to receive government funding from the £22m Margate Town Deal with £6.9m approved for the scheme last year.

The aim is for the Trust to provide physical workspace at affordable rates for creative practitioners such as people working in design, music, publishing, architecture, film, gaming, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV and radio, advertising, literature, computer games and the performing arts.

It will take on underused or empty properties through outright purchase of freehold properties or long leases, or through properties gifted or transferred to the Trust by public or private partners.

These will be used as affordable commercial space for creative industries and support services.

The Executive Director will lead a small team to help to identify opportunities for investment in land and property and oversee acquisitions and management of assets.

‘Unique experience’

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Paula Hirst, said: “The Margate Creative Land Trust Board is delighted that Annette is joining as our new Executive Director to lead the organisation.  Annette has a unique combination of experience with her background in the creative industry, property delivery expertise, knowledge of the charitable sector, and having previously led a small organisation. With Annette joining the organisation in July, we look forward to ramping up our activity to deliver against our mission.”


Annette started her career in the independent magazine sector, before moving into the music industry to manage chart-topping acts and producers. She set up and ran east London’s  B&B ‘Russell’s of Clapton’, catering to creative clientele from her previous working life. She then helped set up and was general manager of Green Rooms art-hotel, a joint venture with Haringey Council and the Mayor of London.

She said: “Margate is one of the most creative, exciting places in the UK right now. With the challenging economic climate, it’s even more essential that we support and develop the creative sector here, ensuring the wider community also benefit from the opportunity and investment it attracts.

“At Margate Creative Land Trust we will nurture existing and next generation makers and practitioners, in sustainable, fit for purpose space.”

The Trust says it will develop a thriving, resilient and innovative sector that will provide inclusive enterprise, employment and learning opportunities for people living and working in Margate and the surrounding areas.

Annette joins Community Engagement and Communications Manager, Eileen Hartney who most recently worked for the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Kent.

Eileen’s role is to engage with creative organisations and individuals in Margate and across Thanet.

Open call photo shoot

The Trust is currently asking for applications for an open call photoshoot. These will provide images for the charity’s website and will feature local creatives based in and around Margate.

The Trust will be commissioning Margate-based photographer Heather Tait to take the images.

Those who participate will receive the images of themselves for their own use, and a credit via a link to their website or social media page.

If you would like to take part,  send a brief summary about yourself and your creative practice (500 words or less) and include any relevant links to images, your website if you have one, social media or photos of your work on display.

Send your application to [email protected]

Margate Creative Land Trust:

Margate Town Deal

Margate was one of 101 places given the opportunity in 2019 to bid for funding of up to £25 million as part of the government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund. The fund aims to support urban regeneration, skills development and improved connectivity by giving each place its own Town Deal.

The successful of the bid  was announced as part of the Government’s Town Deal programme in the Chancellor’s Budget in March 2021.

Projects for £22m Margate Town Deal scheme on show at Turner Contemporary pop-up event


  1. Can anyone explain what the difference is between “gaming” and “computer games”? I always assumed they were the same thing!

  2. Talking of Town Deal cash, does anyone know what is going on with the Margate Digital project ? Over £6m of cash given to the East Kent College Group, planning permission given almost a year ago and not much seems to be actually happening ?

    • No money was given to EKC – it all goes to Thanet District Council. That’s why it’s all taking so long.

      • Yip no cash has changed hands, EKC Group left hanging as TDC and Homes England can’t even produce a lease.

  3. What does a Executive Director get paid for doing this job on behalf of the people of Margate seems a fancy title for an administration clerk.

  4. As soon as you mention ART of any form today . There seems a pot just put your hand in a take what you like . While other business struggle to survive .

  5. Annette Russell who works at Hackney Council and was a trustee of the Hackney Society. Whisper the words Hackney and creatives and you’ve got to be a firm favourite for any grant-funded executive job in New Margate.

  6. £90k salary shocking ! They haven’t bought a property yet and have a very short time period to do so due to the restrictions of the grants. Sadly the money will be wasted on uneconomical over priced commercial properties and how do the quantifiable take large salaries what will they actually be doing . The Margate Town deal is not driving any form of results or change for the community , whilst other towns are finished projects Margate Town deal haven’t started one build yet ! It is all leading to an embarrassment for Thanet council. Skate park dreamland Margate digital Walpole nothing. Heads should roll in the regeneration department for the lack of progress on every single project.

  7. 90 grand no wonder she has a big smile on her face . I’d have a big smile if I was paid 90 k a year . Since covid the world seems a barmy place with no limits.

  8. The aim is for the Trust to provide physical workspace at affordable rates for creative practitioners such as people working in design, music, publishing, architecture, film, gaming, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV and radio, advertising, literature, computer games and the performing arts.

    I thought there was loads of these all ready in thanet. There seems to be a new arty thing every week

  9. Would it be a surprise , in light of the revelations as to the state of some of tdcs commercial premises and the topsy turvey department running it, that some property is transferred from tdc to the land trust ( off loads liabilities and makes it easier for the land trust to be a success).
    Also why is all this so fixated on the arts and creatives, i’m sure there are plenty of self employed / small businesses that would be grateful for a leg up in life from reasonably priced premises to work from.

    • I agree Lc waiting for the land trust to buy the Cecil sq council offices and other TDC owned building the head of regeneration has a lot to answer for ! Gifting her friends at Dreamland £4million and closing the winter gardens.

      • Good point, I hadn’t considered the council offices, but might be a convenient way of off loading a building they no longer want , or need now tdc have embraced wfh so enthusiastically.

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